Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who has gained nationwide appeal and become infamous on the right for her unapologetic progressive politics, was recently in talks to write a book, The Daily Beast has learned.
Multiple publishing industry sources told The Daily Beast that the freshman Democrat retained the talent agency CAA and took meetings earlier this year about writing a potential book. The project, one industry source said, was ultimately pulled, but for reasons that remain mysterious.
It’s unclear if the book project is functionally dead and if the congresswoman still works with CAA. The agency would neither confirm nor deny that it had recently been working with Ocasio-Cortez. Corbin Trent, communications director for Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) declined to address the story directly, saying it fell beyond matters of congressional work.
“I can’t help you with it,” Trent said. Asked if he was confirming, denying or offering no comment, Trent said “I’ve said everything that I'm going to say about that.”
Since her shocking primary win in June 2018, Ocasio-Cortez has been a sensation for progressives and an omnipresent boogeyman for conservatives. She has also influenced the tenor of the debate within the Democratic party, introducing ideas like the Green New Deal, pushing Medicare for All and championing a wealth tax both in Congress and among 2020 Democratic presidential contenders.
In the process, she’s become a cultural phenomenon. Ocasio-Cortez is one of the subjects of an upcoming Netflix documentary that premiered at Sundance, was featured as a superhero in a comic book, and sometimes gets a warmer reception at Democratic confabs than 2020 presidential candidates.
She wouldn’t be the only freshman member of Congress with a book out in the near future.
Sources told The Daily Beast that Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) also sold a book late last year after he won election and was mocked by Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson for the eye patch he wears following a combat-related injury. Crenshaw’s office did not return a request for comment. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) also announced earlier this year she has a book deal.
Senators, governors, and other national political figures often churn out everything from children’s books to personal memoirs.
But it is less common for sitting House members to release books. House rules mandate that sitting members cannot accept book advances, a measure implemented after then-incoming House Speaker Newt Gingrich faced criticism for accepting a $4 million book advance from publisher HarperCollins (a massive sum even by today’s standards).
While Ocasio-Cortez’s earning potential is severely curtailed, both Omar and Crenshaw inked deals before officially joining congress, likely avoiding the rule limiting advance payments.
—With reporting from Sam Stein.